Do you struggle to sleep at night? For a variety of different reasons, so do others, whether it be stress, what we’ve eaten, our surroundings, or just plain old noise. Most of us can remember a time when our mothers sent us to sleep by softly singing us a nursery rhyme or humming to us until we peacefully drifted off to sleep. Why can’t it still be that simple? Many sounds will help us to drift off to sleep, but what actually works is dependent on the individual.
Whether it’s waves lapping at the shore, the sound of the wind or the hum of the washing machine, some sounds will make us feel soothed and relaxed and help us drift off to sleep, while others can make us feel on edge and annoyed, keeping us awake at night.
What sounds will do what3
When the brain picks up on a sound, it assesses how threatening it is. The sound of waves lapping at the shore is predictable and rhythmic so the brain is unlikely to consider it a danger, whereas high pitched noises can be startling and trigger a threat. In general, our brains tend to feel more relaxed and at ease in response to lower frequencies of sound, as well as repetitive sounds. Some popular sounds will include static, rushing waterfalls, and wind.
There has been a great deal of research into which sounds will help us get to sleep. One of the most popular is that of white noise, which is known for its calming effects, as it masks high and low frequency noise pollution. Those who struggle to sleep purchase white noise machines to cut out the noise around them, especially the type of people who find that the slightest noises keep them awake at night; such as dogs barking, their spouse snoring or the sound of cars. The white noise devices work two ways: by blocking distracting noises, and by producing soothing sounds that are relaxing and help to induce sleep.
There are many apps on your phone that can act as a white noise machine, are full of relaxing sounds and will help you to get to sleep. We’ve listed our 3 favourites below:
This app contains ambient sounds and allows you to create your own mixes, so you can choose the sounds that you find the most sleep inducing. The sounds create a relaxed environment and aim to help you drift into a cyclical sleep pattern. It also has a sleep timer with a slow fade out, and alarm clock with slow fade-in to wake you up gently. Best of all, it’s easy to use!
Helping you to unwind and reduce stress, this application has a large sound catalogue that will help you to drift off. If there is a particular sound that helps you to get to sleep, you can record and loop additional new sounds with ease. You can control the app from your lock screen or using headphones that have a remote control. Advanced Settings let you adjust sound volume, balance, pitch, mixing with iPod music, looping the playlist, custom alarm snooze times, and more.
Create a playlist with your favourite mix of sounds. You can choose from 40 high-quality relaxing sounds, including ocean waves, insects, train rides, thunderstorms and campfires. The sounds will be teamed with 40 retina images to help you really unwind and relax, to send you to sleep. The sound timer allows you to stop the audio at your discretion, so you can adjust the settings on the app to suit you.
Remember: what works for one person will not necessarily work for you. Some people will have better results with rhythmic and gentle sounds, while others will have better results from a melody.
There are some who will react better to a repetitive sound, while others may benefit better from random sounds. It’s a matter of trial and error to discover what’s best for you.